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Buyers less satisfied with real estate companies in 2011

Portrait of house keys, photo by Linus Bohman.

New report outlines buyer sentiment

J.D. Power and Associates’ fourth annual Home Buyer/Seller Study polled home buyers, asking questions regarding overall satisfaction which they determined by examining three factors of the home-buying experience: agent/salesperson; office; and variety of additional services.

Overall satisfaction of home buyers is down in 2010, with the report revealing the largest drop in satisfaction with the agent/salesperson, noting agent interaction as the largest determining factor in a buyer’s overall satisfaction with the real estate brand.

“Although the current real estate market—with the confluence of low home prices and historically low interest rates—creates the perception of a buyers’ market, there are still traditional barriers to purchase in place, which could be negatively affecting buyer satisfaction with their agent,” said Jim Howland, senior director of the real estate and construction practice at J.D. Power and Associates.

“Agents who properly manage client expectations around the home buying process and communicate with clients about potential challenges—such as higher requirements for down payments, tighter loan standards and additional costs on top of the monthly mortgage—may be better able to keep clients satisfied,” Howland added.

RE/MAX ranks highest in overall satisfaction

Despite a slight drop in satisfaction with the industry, it’s not all bad news. In the home-buyer segment, RE/MAX ranks the highest overall for 2011, followed very closely by Better Homes & Gardens. Better Homes & Gardens performed particularly well in the variety of services category and Coldwell Banker performed well with buyer satisfaction with agents.

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Sherry Chris, President & CEO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate told us, “We are excited and honored to have ranked so high alongside two such established and respected real estate brands. Just this week we are celebrating our 3rd birthday since launch, and this gives us another reason to celebrate!”

Although buyer satisfaction has dropped this year, seller satisfaction has actually risen. It appears that buyers have based their opinion of the industry, brands, and agents on their personal interaction with their Realtor, independent of the economic pressures on housing and the external factors of the crashing economy. Even though buyers are less satisfied in 2011, the margin is relatively flat, meaning that there is not that big of a difference from last year.

The theory that boots on the ground can change buyer sentiment appears to be true, based on J.D. Powers’ study.

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